Video Organising and describing research data
- Organise your data in logical categories/folders
- Make files easy to sort
- Make a clear distinction between versions
- Keep file names clear and concise
If you organise your files into categories, you can give each category its own folder. Possible categories are:
- thematically: experiment type, analysis method used etc.
- chronologically: year, month, day or period to which the data refer or in which they were collected
- geographically: country, region or place where the data are collected or to which they refer
- type of file: e.g. report, article
- nature of the files: e.g. master files, working files
- versions: concepts, definitive version.
If you are consistent in the way you name your files, your files are easily sorted. Possible options:
- chronologically: begin the file name with the date (YYYY-MM-DD), e.g. 20140415Agenda.docx, 20140427Agenda.docx
- consecutively: begin or end the file name with a number, e.g. 001image.jpg, 035image.jpg, progressreport01.docx, progressreport05.docx
- by respondent or test person: begin each file name with the code you gave to a person, e.g. 016interview.docx, 016languagetest.docx
Different versions of files may be distinguished by means of a version number in the file name, preceded by a small v. Normally, a dot is used in version numbers (v1.0). In order to prevent confusion with the file extension, it is recommended to use an underscore (v1_0, v1_5, v2_0).
If you save the same content in different file formats, give the files the same name and the same version number, regardless of the file format: e.g. BrownM_transcript_v1_0.docs, BrownM_transcript_v1_0.pdf.
To be able to see the contents of each folder at a glance, it is advisable to limit the file names to ca 25 characters. In order to keep file names concise, it may be necessary to use abbreviations in file names. Keep a list of these abbreviations in a separate text file which you store with your research data.
Avoid the use of spaces, dots and special characters in file names. The characters may cause difficulties when you share a file via the web. Use an underscore instead of a space.
By means of software you can simply rename a large number of files in a single go.